Overview

What our Guests and Friends have to say about the Starwood Festival...


“When I think of Starwood, I think always of the bonfire: one of the great ritual moments in America's alternative culture, lit every year to drums and cheers, spinning dancers, leather-clad guardians, great puppets appearing from the darkness, the moon so often rising full above, and most of all the palpable sense of hearts beating together towards a common vision of a more celebratory and peaceable world. Yes, Starwood is great workshops and hanging with friends and singing in the Pufferdome and potlucks by the campfires, but it all comes together in that spectacle of Saturday's bonfire. When I dream of Starwood, I am always at the bonfire as its fireworks explode into the night sky: unforgettable.” - Patricia Monaghan


“The annual Starwood event serves many purposes and fills many needs. First, it is a reunion, bringing together people who have a history of past experiences, connections, and projects. Secondly, it builds community, helping people with similar worldviews share ideas, feelings, food, music, and thoughts. Third, it evokes spirituality in that it provides a glimpse into aspects of the cosmos that are greater than each participant, aspects that evoke awe, reverence, and wonder. During my two Starwood immersions, I found all three of these themes at work -- not only for other participants but for myself as well.” - Stanley Krippner


“The first time I spoke at Starwood, I couldn't help but notice that many women were walking around bare-breasted, and several men and women were fully naked, a practice known as the "sky clad" experience. When I walked onto the outdoor stage, my opening line was: "I'm gonna start with two words that have been *thought* year after year at these festivals, but which have never actually been uttered out loud, and those two words are, 'Nice tits.'" The audience hesitated a second, because in that context this could be a politically incorrect observation -- I had deliberately taken that chance -- but then they laughed and applauded, because they knew it was true.

The second time I spoke at Starwood, a beautiful woman named Pearl approached me. She was in the process of transforming her breasts from fetish to functional by nursing a baby that had been conceived there the previous year. During that festival, she had walked in, bare-breasted, at the precise moment that I uttered the words, "Nice tits." She assumed that I was referring specifically to her and, she later told me, was actually flattered. I didn't have the heart to disillusion her. But I did write about it in High Times magazine, ending with this sentence: "I hope she doesn't read this."

The third time I spoke at Starwood, I told that story. I knew Pearl was in the audience, and I could see that she was laughing heartily. This time, though, when I said "Nice tits," I added, "Okay, now, everybody!" I counted to three out loud and then the words came booming back at me: "NICE TITS!" As I was leaving the stage, Pearl called out, "Nice dick!" I was fully dressed, but it didn't matter. This was a perfect example of tit for tat. Or dick for tit.” - Paul Krassner


Paradigm Shift (Magazine) caught up with (Stephen) Gaskin after the 1998 Starwood Festival, a pagan/magickal/countercultural gathering that draws thousands of visitors to a Temporary Autonomous Zone in western New York State every summer. He was asked: What did you think of Starwood?
Stephen Gaskin: "I like Starwood. I am not a pagan in any sense of being involved with Celtic or Welsh or any particular school but I definitely am pagan in the sense of someone who has never been roped and branded by any religion. I am a freethinker.
I mean the pagans are very cute. I actually just consider them to be a sub-species of hippies. They are all pierced and tattooed and long black capes and horns and antlers and such. On the other hand they put the aluminum with the aluminum, the clear glass with the clear glass, the brown glass with the brown glass, the compost in the compost and the trash in the trash. They love the world. I don't mean in the abstract, I mean the real actual world.

It is also really sweet to see people out in their skin, feeling and being beautiful. I hope they also register to vote." - Stephen Gaskin

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